Exams Page 12


A2: Elementary

There are fewer pauses at this stage as well as fewer grammatical errors compared to A1. Mistakes are frequent though. At this stage learners are able to communicate and exchange information and ideas on topics such as family, jobs and hobbies. They can also use simple grammatical structures to talk about their routines and their background.

Independent User
B1: Intermediate
This is when a learner is able to put together simple ideas and form rather difficult structures using connectors. They are also able to talk about a wider range of topics. Still most of these topics are those which the learner is familiar with or interested in. Pauses made at this stage are common because the learner is looking for an expression or wants to correct a mistake which they have made.
B2: Upper Intermediate
Successfully completing this level means a learner can talk about a wide range of topics without much difficulty. Learners are able to express and exchange ideas fluently and with detailed descriptions. Although errors may occur, they will not lead to misunderstanding.

Proficient User
C1: Advanced
Learners at this stage are able to communicate fluently and rather effortlessly about complicated topics. Their use of language is complicated and their sentences are well-structured. They can engage in different discussions without prior planning and thinking. Their conversations are packed with details. Errors at this stage are very rare to find.
C2: Proficient
This is where the learner is able to produce complex structures with ease. They are also able to communicate about virtually anything without any effort or strain. They can deal with texts and situations in the language that are academically or cognitively challenging as well. In some areas a learner at this stage can be even more advanced than an average native speaker. Now that we have a quite clear description of each of these levels, it is essential to find out where we are and where we want to be at the end of our learning process. There are many different exams offered in many languages that have been designed to determine the level of proficiency of learners in different languages. For example a 9 in the IELTS exam means that the test taker is at CEFR’s C2 level of proficiency, or obtaining a Cambridge ESOL’s FCE means that the learner is at CEFR’s Upper-intermediate level of proficiency. So next time you are preparing for an exam, refer to this scaling to get a better understanding of your knowledge. Good luck!